Big changes are in store for City View Restaurant, the popular Dim Sum restaurant on 662 Commercial Street.
According to recent permits uncovered by What Now San Francisco, plans are in place to move City View Dim Sum to a brand new location at 838 Grant Avenue as part of a long-term renovation.
838 Grant has a long and storied history that is tied deeply with the roots of San Francisco. It was once the home of Empress of China, a Chinese restaurant and banquet hall founded by Kee Joon Lee all the way back in 1966. The Empress thrived for over 45 years and hosted thousands of weddings and banquets before it was finally forced to shut down when the building was sold to new owners.
The future of the space remained unknown for a few years while it continued to change hands, and it wasn’t until June of this year when the Empress saw a rebirth. On June 18th 2021, Michelin-starred chef Ho Chee Boon reopened the iconic restaurant as Empress by Boon, capturing the original essence of the Empress while fusing it with his experience in fine dining. Now, on the heels of Empress’s recent relaunch, a second restaurant is coming to the storied building.
Originally slated to open in 2020 before the pandemic, plans are again moving forward to bring City View Dim Sum to the basement of 838 Grant. A collaboration between JL Realty Partners and Schaub Li Architects, the proposed plan involves completely renovating the basement in order to move City View to a more spacious location. The plan also involves opening up the back of the building and converting it into an entrance in order to give patrons immediate access to Walter U Lum Plaza.
After a lengthy series of negotiations with 838 residents and the local planning, the team is finally able to begin their plans. They’ve ensured the community that they don’t intend to alter the historic features of the building and that their new restaurant plans are part of a larger venture to preserve the culture and architecture of Chinatown in an age of instability and unexpected closures. For anyone curious about what to expect, the City View commercial street location remains open to customers.